Interview with Marianne Sciucco

What is your e-reading device of choice?
I read on my Kindle and the Kindle app on my iPhone.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I'm an eclectic reader, so I'm open to many genres and authors. I discover new books via Facebook and a wonderful group I belong to called Clean Indie Reads. I also read the works of authors I've befriended both online and in person - it's so important we support one another - and my favorite bestselling authors, although I admit I often borrow these titles from my local library.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen, because it's the ultimate romance novel, timeless, and beautifully executed. Jane never goes out of style. If I could only keep one book on my shelf it would be my "Complete Novels of Jane Austen."

Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, by Anne Tyler, which I read during my first trip to California, and hooked me on Tyler, who is one of my favorite authors - I've read all of her books - and someone I actually had the privilege to meet.

True to Form, by Elizabeth Berg, another favorite author. I discovered this book while at the gym, flipping through a Good Housekeeping magazine as I took on the treadmill. I often read while exercising. The excerpt enthralled me so I went out and got the book, which not only inspired me to read everything she's written but motivated me to start writing my own books. Thanks Elizabeth.

Gap Creek, by Robert Morgan. Oh, he gives me goose bumps, such a beautiful writer. He weaves a magical story and pulls you into his country so you feel like you were born there.

Angela's Ashes, by Frank McCourt. Incredibly real and moving, dark and full of light at the same time.
When did you first start writing?
I've always written, and dreamed of becoming a professional writer as a child, when I would staple together pieces of notepaper and write stories. My goal in high school was to become a journalist, and in college (UMass Boston) I worked on the student newspaper, eventually becoming editor-in-chief. After graduation, my attempts to find work as a reporter failed, so I eventually went into nursing to avoid poverty. I put away my typewriter and stifled my wild mind, which constantly fed me ideas for stories and articles I had no time to write. Years later a manager at the hospital I worked for started a newsletter for the nursing department. I volunteered my services and soon took over the whole project. This got me started writing articles for publication and soon I embarked on my first novel. I guess I've come full circle.
What is your writing process?
I write in spurts and starts. I don't adhere to any structured process because of the repetitive strain injuries I struggle with, which make writing impossible most days.
Describe your desk
I'm lucky to have my own writing room, with a gorgeous oak, mission-style desk, very large, with a hutch. The whole thing is covered with books, papers, and dust. I'm constantly setting out to clean it up but get lost in the process and sidetracked by some other more interesting project. Oh well. A cluttered desk is the sign of an active mind.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Classic story - I wrote a book and no one would pay attention to me, no matter how carefully I crafted my query and cover letters, researched prospective agents and publishers, and followed all of the rules. I had just about given up when a friend suggested I publish on Kindle. And the rest, they say, is history.
How do you approach cover design?
I designed and created the cover for Blue Hydrangeas myself, which many say is a no-no, but so many people have said it's beautiful and suggest I not change it that I'll keep it for now. I browsed hundreds of photos searching for the right one and found this one which I particularly like because the hydrangea in the background is out of focus, following the story line. For my next book, Swim Season, I worked with a professional cover designer so we'll see how that works out once the book is published.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Ereader News Today has produced the most sales at one time and is well worth the investment. I also like Story Cartel for gathering reviews.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Like so many writers, I wear many hats, one of which is called “Swim Mom.” I’ve shuttled my daughter to swim meets and swim practice for years, and now follow her across state lines during her college swimming career. All those hours sitting on cold, metal bleachers waiting to watch her swim for a minute or two gave me more than a sore you-know-what: It inspired me to write a story about the whole high school swimming experience, to show others who may not be as familiar with the sport how much fun it is and how hard these kids work. I started Swim Season four years ago and will soon have a completed manuscript. The plan is to publish in 2015.

In Swim Season, Aerin is determined to leave her troubles behind as she starts her senior year in her third high school. Senior year is supposed to be fun, right? Friends. Parties. Boys. She wants to be like every other girl at Two Rivers. Except Aerin has two secrets: Her mom is not a nurse serving in Afghanistan - a tiny twist on the truth - and she is not an average varsity swimmer - an untruth of epic proportions. A star athlete who has dedicated her life to realizing her Olympic dreams at the expense of friendships and good times, Aerin decides she doesn't want to win anymore, she wants to swim for fun, it's her "therapy." But when the challenge to break a longstanding school record attached to a $50,000 scholarship collides with her desire to be just one of the girls on the team, will Aerin sacrifice her new friendships to win?
Published 2014-12-27.
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